Fun on the High Seas
Beware the stranger!
I love it when people smile at me. The young woman at the check-in desk positively beamed at me. As she simultaneously handed me back my ticket, she snapped her fingers. A lowly minion came running over and picked up my smart luggage. 'This way please, Madam,' he said, admiring my silk dress that clung in all the right places. He cast many admiring glances at my long blonde hair.
My cabin proved to be well appointed. Not that I would be spending much time in there, but the creature comforts of life would do very well. I stepped into the shower and used my posh shower gel.
Stepping back into the cabin, I took off the blond wig and brushed out the long chestnut tresses of my next wig. Next, I attended to my face, It only needed touching up, which took around twenty minutes or so. The final touch was to spray myself with the seductive scent I always wore. Stepping into a fresh dress and smart shoes, I stepped out onto the little terrace. We were already several miles out to sea. Back in the cabin, I neatly folded the blonde wig and folded it away in my suitcase.
It was now almost 6 pm. It was never too early to start. I walked up to the main deck and headed for the cocktail lounge. On the first evening, people wanted to relax, enjoy themselves. So much groundwork can be covered over a drink or two.
As I approached the bar, the barman snapped to attention and served me with aplomb. As I sipped my drink, I looked around casually. No need to make it look too obvious. 'A martini, extra dry,' said a voice from just behind me.
I turned to have a look. Hmm, a well dressed woman in her early forties, I guessed. Her eyes flickered in my direction and passed on. A young man appeared at her side. Either her son or her toyboy boyfriend. They moved off to sit at a table. Oh well.
The bar began to fill up nicely. I toyed with some nibbles and sipped my drink. There were many groups and couples. But I preferred loners initially, to better my chances.
A short while later, an excellent prospect walked in. A well dressed man, somewhere in middle age. He was dressed in the classic combination of blazer and smart trousers. I casually glanced at his shoes. The black loafers gleamed. First impressions count and this man was already scoring well.
As the bar had filled up, he had no option but to squeeze in next to me. He ordered a brandy and soda in a well educated voice. I caught a glimpse of cufflinks as he reached for his wallet.
This could be the one. I ordered another drink. The barman jumped to attention. As I reached for my drink, the man next to me reached for his. My drink spilled over. I exclaimed in alarm. The barman promptly mopped up the mess before it could ruin my dress. The man next to me apologised and offered to buy me another drink. I accepted with a polite smile. He smiled back. That was good.
We sipped our drinks and I took a closer look at my companion. Fine lines were just appearing around his eyes, but his hair was still a good, dark colour. He looked confident, as if he were used to being in control. But there was a twinkle in his eyes.He introduced himself. A Mr Henry Williams, of London. As we shook hands, I told him my name. But not my name, if you get my drift. We chatted and drank. 'Another?' he asked a little while later.
'Why thank you.' The barman served us without mishap. Marvellous service on these cruise ships, I must say. Five star service.
'I was wondering,' my companion began.
'Yes?' I raised an elegantly plucked eyebrow.
'Would you like to have dinner with me in the restaurant? After all the trouble I've caused you with your drink, it's the least I could do,' he said. As I hesitated, he added, 'The de-luxe restaurant, of course.' This was getting better and better. A man with money to spend.
Of course. 'I'd be delighted,' I replied with a warm smile. 'Would you excuse me for a moment? I need to freshen up.' I stood up. So did the man. He bowed slightly as I headed off to the ladies. I let a good ten minutes elapse before heading for the best restaurant on the ship.
I spotted Mr Henry Williams at once. He was seated at a corner table. I strolled over. 'You left this in the bar,' I said, handing over a smartly folded silk handkerchief. 'I saved the waiter the bother of giving it back.'
'Why thank you. I'll be forgetting my head next.' His little joke wasn't very good, but I smiled nevertheless.
The meal was very good. The company was good too. He drank a little too much. I barely touched my wine glass. Henry Williams told me about his work in the computer business. Computers interest me, of course. There's so much you can do in the internet. But the nuts and bolts of the business bore me - my attention focused back on the present when he told me how much he earned per year. Hmm, I should have "borrowed" more from his wallet when I did the trick with the handkerchief.
My dining companion asked me what I did. I smiled. 'I work in finance,' I replied. Well, it was true, I suppose. 'You could call me a cashier.' I thought of the thick wad of cash neatly rolled in my little bag.
At 10 pm, I decided to bring this oh so pleasant evening to an end. My dining companion also stood as I did. He kissed my hand and wished me a pleasant night's sleep.
As I retired to my cabin, I wondered what the next day would bring.
Bright and early the next day, I sauntered the decks. My light brown bob of a wig was firmly fixed in place. Dark glasses hid my eyes and in place of the elegant silk dress of last night, I wore tailored trousers and a dark red silk shirt, with open-toed sandals. The varnish on my fingernails and toenails matched the red of my shirt. Very chic. I spotted Mr Henry Williams from last night, but he did not so much as glance in my direction. That's not quite true. His gazed hovered in my direction and then passed on. It was clear he did not recognise me at all. Good. It meant I could target one more "client" before taking my leave at the first port of call the next morning.
But I was close enough to hear him, when he accosted one of the staff and began talking. I overheard the bursar say, 'Of course, sir. An auburn haired woman, elegantly turned out. I'll have all the staff be on the look-out. And her name? Of course sir, I'll get right on to it.'
Thank God for the different wig and the fake name. They'd never catch me. I began people watching. So many people in groups, of two or more. What I needed was a person on their own. And not just because their other half had had to go to the rest room. So I spent a good hour just strolling around.
It was gone lunchtime before I spotted my next victim. Actually, it was nearer teatime. Given the staff would be more on the alert for dodgy goings on, I was more careful than ever. My next target was an elderly lady, well decked with jewels. Being what I was, I could see they were real. Hmm, someone who was well decked in both senses of the word. Perhaps I could persuade her to let me buy her afternoon tea.
I was in luck. A sudden swell in the tide caused the old lady to totter. She had to grab the hand rail to steady herself. I went over to her. 'Are you all right?' I injected as much concern as I could into my voice.
She looked over at me gratefully. 'Thank you, my dear. That wave, oh dear. I nearly lost my balance.'
'Perhaps you would like to join me in afternoon tea,' I offered with a warm smile. 'It's just over there.' I nodded at the palm fringed room, where other people could already be seen. 'My treat,' I added.
'Why thank you, young lady,' the old lady replied. 'A nice cup of tea would help me to settle my nerves.'
But as we made our way to the restaurant, the old lady stumbled on her feet again. I held her arm firmly. 'Are you all right?' I asked.
'Oh my, oh dear,' she said, flustered. 'I feel a little unwell. My dear, would you be so good as to escort me to my cabin? I feel the need to have a little lie down.'
This sounded better and better. Much better chances of, well, making a profit, in private, away from prying eyes. I helped down the stairs and along a couple of corridors before we reached her cabin. Truth to tell, the old lady really did look a trifle unwell. A lie down would do her the world of good.
I helped her inside and to sit on the edge of the bed. She insisted on taking off her jewels and dress. She wrapped herself in a smart dressing gown and lay on the bed. 'Thank you, dear. I feel better now. Perhaps you'd pass me that bottle? Yes, that one, perfect.' She shook out a couple of tablets and swallowed them down. Within two minutes, she was out like a light. The gentle snores gave it away. I "helped" myself to a couple of rings from the dressing table and a pearl necklace, which I slipped into my handbag.
I then gently let myself out of the old lady's cabin and swiftly made my way back to my cabin. I changed back into the dress and blonde wig that I'd boarded the ship and ordered room service. Dinner in my cabin was much better than running the risk of meeting anyone who would recognise me in the auburn wig or the light brown bob.
Later, as I drifted off to sleep, I reflected on the profitability of my little cruise. No-one had suspected me. I was smiling as I fell asleep.
Bright and early next morning, I was ready for action. My small suitcase was neatly packed. Whilst it had still been dark, I had gone onto my little terrace and thrown the auburn and light brown wigs overboard, along with the outfits they had gone with. With the money I had "taken" and the jewels, I would more than make up for that small loss.
Checking my reflection, I was satisfied. I looked exactly as I had on embarkation. Never tempt fate. That was my motto. As soon as we docked, which was while most people were still at breakfast, I disembarked, my little smart suitcase in hand. No-one gave me a second glance.
Down on the quayside, I found a taxi straight away. 'The airport, please,' I said and sat back to watch the scenery go by. Once inside the airport, I made for the nearest check-in desk. The world's favourite airline had a seat on standby, the flight was ready to leave in thirty minutes.
I passed through the security checks, showed my passport and very soon, I was seated on the plane. I read the free newspaper and idly listened to the gossip of the cabin crew. 'That cruise ship, down by the docks,' one of them was saying. 'Apparently, an auburn haired woman robbed people of their money and stuff.'
'I heard she had short light brown hair,' said another. I patted my blonde hair and smiled faintly. My handbag had been scanned, but the lining in the bottom was thick and false. They missed the jewels in the little space, the money stowed there too. I was safe.
Very soon, the plane was taxiing down the runway. When it took off, I finally relaxed properly and asked for a glass of champagne. It truly had been an excellent cruise, short though mine had been.
Back on the cruise ship, in a small windowless room, the chief bursar showed the two people sitting next to him three different images, taken from the onboard CCTV. In one of them, a blonde haired woman was walking towards her room. In another, an auburn haired woman was showed sitting on a bar stool. In the third image, a woman with a light brown hair cut into a short bob was to be seen promenading on the decks. 'Look at these three images,' the Chief Bursar said. 'Do you recognise any of them?'
Henry Williams pointed to the auburn haired woman. 'That's who I had dinner with. She stole £500 from my wallet.'
'And the woman with the short brown hair is the one who helped me to my cabin and stole some of my jewels,' said the old lady. 'But who is the one with blonde hair?'
'They are one and the same,' the Chief Bursar said. 'Take a good look at the face.' Both the man and the elderly woman looked. Henry Williams saw it first. 'Well I'll be damned,' he said. 'Oh my,' said the old lady.
'Of course, we now know her name - her real name, I mean,' said the Bursar. 'Oh yes,' he nodded. 'We put the local airport on alert when you two reported your losses. Thanks to you two, we can arrest her when she lands at Gatwick.'
© 2017 Alice Dancer